Football

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe to be crowned new head of African football

South African billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe will be crowned the new head of African football later this week in a tame end to tumultuous weeks of campaigning.

The 59-year-old Motsepe, ranked by Forbes among the richest men on the continent, has been anointed as the new Confederation of African Football (CAF) president after a deal brokered by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The last impediment to his coronation, which will come at the CAF Congress in Rabat on Friday, was removed on Monday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a ban on CAF President Ahmad Ahmad for corruption, although reducing his suspension from five to two years.

Ahmad was initially banned in November, opening the field for new leaders with Motsepe proving a surprise candidate.

Owner of the successful South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, who won the African Champions League in 2016, he has not previously held office in football administration, enjoying rather an enigmatic profile similar to those of oligarchs investing in top European clubs.

He was pitted against Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast, Augustin Senghor from Senegal and Mauritania Football Federation president Ahmed Yahya but the prospect of an intriguing contest ended in a deal that will see Motsepe take the presidency and Senghor and Yahya appointed vice-presidents.

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